GIRARD, Ohio (WYTV) – While the community of New Kensington says their final goodbyes to Officer Brian Shaw, some 80 miles away in Girard, our community is still mourning the loss of police officer Justin Leo.
WYTV sat down with with Girard Police Chief John Norman Wednesday to see how his department is coping in the weeks since Officer Leo was killed on duty and how they plan to help the New Kensington department through their similar tragedy.
“It just hit me like a punch,” Norman said. “Just shock, sadness — and that’s the way that all the officers felt here.”
“Another young police officer — a good person dying like that — it just struck us hard,” he added.
It’s been close to a month since the Girard Police department lost one of their own. And after hearing that a city about 80 miles away in Westmoreland County, Pa., had lost a young officer as well, Norman knew he wanted to help them in their time of need.
“You know, 80 miles or 800 miles, we’re still policemen,” he said. “We were just in that situation and we wanted to provide any help that we could — any words that would help them, anything they need, we were there.”
A sea of police officers attended New Kensington Police Officer Brian Shaws’ calling hours Tuesday. Law enforcement from all over came out to mourn.
Among them were members of the Girard Police Department.
“I told him to call and he said he would,” Norman said. “Any help we can give them, any advice we can give them to help get them through it.
“We got a lot of good advice. We talked to a lot of people, a lot of people talked to us — gave us some outlets. We’ll give them the same help.”
Chief Norman also reflected on the loss of his own officer, Justin Leo. He described the first few days and weeks as the toughest.
“One of the things I know a lot of our guys and I did, we went back to work,” Norman said. “We still have communities to protect. We know we have a lot of support from our community and other law enforcement agencies and we’re back, slowly but surely.”
But still there’s days…
“Like the day we heard Officer Shaw was killed,” he said. “It stops you and you think about it. But we continue to go back into the community, into our routines, doing our cases — protecting the city.”